The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The A3 provides a very good driving position. There's height adjustment on all trims, but four-way powered lumbar adjustment is an option up to and including S line trim. We'd recommend adding that, which enable most drivers to get comfortable.
All the buttons, dials and screens you need most frequently are within sight or easy reach, helped by the centre area of the dashboard being angled towards the driver. This includes simply physical controls to operate the climate controls.
Audi’s Virtual Cockpit digital driver display comes as standard. It shows all the driving information on a crisp, 10.3in screen, with various display styles to select from.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
Slim pillars and large windows ensure the A3 provides a good all-round view out. Rear parking sensors come as standard, while ascending the trim hierarchy or ticking some option boxes can give you a full 360deg birds-eye view camera, front sensors, and even a system that can park the car itself.
Bright LED headlights come as standard. On higher trims, such as Vorsprung, these are upgraded to Matrix LEDs, which adapt the main beams so they can remain on and not dazzle the cars in front.
Sat nav and infotainment
Audi’s 10.1in touchscreen infotainment system comes as standard, but it’s a more difficult setup to use on the move than the rival systems in the 1 Series and A-Class. That’s because there are no physical controls on hand. Instead of being able to scroll down a list and make selections using the rotary controller in the 1 Series (or mouse pad in the A-Class), which allows you to keep your eyes on the road for longer, in the A3 you have to look directly at the touchscreen to find and hit the icon you need.
On the plus side the screen it sharp with good graphics, and the menus respond quickly. It's also packed with features – including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration – and USB ports front and rear.
Vorsprung trim adds a Bang & Olufsen surround-sound stereo with more power and extra speakers.
The A3 compares well with the 1 Series and A-Class for showroom appeal, and its materials are generally of good quality. But it isn’t faultless.
The dashboard’s prominent plastic ledge isn't particularly rigid when you touch it. There are also some cheaper-feeling materials around the centre console, if you go hunting for them. You can argue the same is true of the A-Class, which also looks good but feels a bit flimsy in places, leaving the 1 Series as the most consistently robust and well screwed together of the three.
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